Building your own website can be complicated if you have no idea about user interface, user experience, design, branding….and development. It could also be costly if you are hiring a professional web designer and developer. Luckily for you, if you don’t need a complicated website, you probably can do it yourself.
WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS), probably the easiest and most powerful CMS and blog platform today. It may require some basic knowledge about coding and design, so if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, you can always find a professional that is well versed with WordPress and still get a very nice effective website for a fraction on the cost.
If you are up for the challenge here’s what you’ll need to do:
1.Make a plan
Before you even start to build something, you will need to know exactly what you are trying to achieve. What is your website will be about? What is your audience? What is your bottom line? etc. Having a website just to have a website is useless. You need to have a goal and make sure that you track that this goal is achieved to eventually understand why it may or may not work as you wanted to. Whether you want your visitors to submit a form, purchase a product or service, call, etc, it will impact what your website will be, how many pages you might need. Figuring out this part is probably the most important of all. It requires that you have a clear understand of your business and your goals and how to transform them into a user friendly eye catching website.
2. Domain name and hosting plan
First thing first, you will need a domain name for your business. If you are lucky your company name is already available as a .com and you just have to register it. But if your business is already taken by someone else and chances are you don’t have a trademark, you’ll have to be creative to find an alternative. You can already forget about the other TLDs like .net, .org….as .com is the most commonly accepted TLD…unless of course it makes sense. For example about.me makes perfectly sense as the domain plus the TLD simply means “about me” and that’s exactly what the site is about. There’s other solutions to find the perfect domain name and if you need help with this, feel free to contact me.
To register your domain, you have multiple options but godaddy.com is probably the easiest. A domain name will cost you about $12 for a year.
Once you have your domain, you will need to host your website. Since you’re only starting you probably don’t need an expensive hosting plan. Again here, godaddy,com is probably your best bet. Pick the cheapest shared hosting plan at first. It’s always easier to increase your plan as you need instead of spending lots of money in an expensive hosting plan you don’t need to start up with.
3. You website content
Now, you need to write content. Content is not just text, it could be images, videos, blog articles, testimonials, etc. In case you are not comfortable with writing your own content, you can always hire a professional copywriter at least to help you format your thoughts into meaningful content.
What can help you build your website content is to create a structure with multiple pages. Then you can write specifically for each page. The most common structure for a small website would be:
- About you or your business
- Products or Services
That’s a basic structure. You might need more than that if for examples you offer multiple services or types of products you could have sub pages within your products/services page for each of them. You may or may not have testimonials or you might need a page to showcase your products like a portfolio. You might want to add a blog…
If your content is too small you can also create a single page website. Instead of navigating from one page to another, your visitor will navigate within the same page smoothly.
Now that you have your structure and content decided, it’s time to decide how your website will look like and how the different sections will be presented. This visual blueprint of your website is what we call wireframing and its purpose is to arrange all the different elements on a page to best accomplish a particular goal.
At this point, feel free to search the web for sites that are in your niche to get some inspiration on what you like and even what you don’t like about someone else’s website.
Here’s an example of wireframe:
You have the content, the structure and you wireframed you entire site, now it’s time to ad some style and create what will be YOUR branding.
Your branding is not only your logo, and at this stage I assume you already have one, but it includes:
- The typography (font, font size, font color…)
- The color palette
- The imagery (photos, infography…)
- The iconography (icons, icons style, icons colors…)
6. Installing WordPress
Now you have everything you need to actually build your website. You’re gonna have to install WordPress first. WordPress is vert easy to install. You just have to download it, unzip the file and install all the files directly on your server. If this part is too techy for you, Godaddy even offers WordPress hosting with WordPress already installed and optimized. You will just have to log in to the admin and start building. If you feel like doing it yourself, follow this great tutorial: http://www.wpbeginner.com/how-to-install-wordpress/
7. Building your pages
That’s the part where it might be daunting. If you don’t have any knowledge of basic of html or css, it might be complicated to transform your wireframe into a real fully designed web page. Luckily there’s plenty of marketplace where you will be able to find pre-made themes that will help you build your website based on existing templates and with options to make it very custom without the hassle of actually building it with code. A great marketplace to find very powerful themes that integrate website builders is themeforest.com.
Building your own website can be easy if you have a little bit of basic knowledge about user interface, user experience and web coding. But even if you don’t, there’s enough tools available for you to be able to do it yourself and have a great result.
If you have any question about WordPress or need help with your WordPress website, feel free to contact us.